On November 4, 1991, Creation Records released Bandwagonesque by the Glasgow band Teenage Fanclub. Bandwagonesque was chosen as “Album of the Year” in the SPIN magazine year-end poll, ahead of such releases as Nirvana’s Nevermind. Naturally, this has caused controversy in the 23 years that have elapsed since then, and I won’t get into that here. What I will say is that, of all the releases of 1991, I listen to Bandwagonesque most often. It is a shimmering and timeless beauty, balancing glorious harmonies, alternately chiming and grinding guitars, and clever songcraft.
Ah, but you want proof, discerning blog readers that you are. Sometimes I prefer its upbeat pop classics, such as “Metal Baby”:
I included an appreciation of the sweet “Sidewinder” in my essay “Dextrose Rides Again,” featured in the anthology Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, so I should play that, too:
Then there’s “Alcoholiday,” which reduces me to swooning or tears, depending on my mood. Legend has it that late, lamented Big Star frontman Alex Chilton also wept when he first heard it…it’s that gorgeous, folks:
Here is the major advantage that Teenage Fanclub has over Nirvana: the Fanclub exists to this day, with a long and varied song catalog, fun side projects (try the New Mendicants!), and occasional concert tours. You have to love that!